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Old 12-26-2012, 09:44 PM   #1
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FOWLR 3 dead in 24 hours

I have had a 36 gallon bow front tank with about 35-40lbs of live rock for about 2 1/2 months. I am running a fluval 306 canister filter good for 70 gallons of filtration as well as a fluval hang on the back filter good for about 40-50 gallons worth of filtration. I first added a very small Picaso trigger, then waited about 2 weeks and went to my LFS and told them what all I planned on adding in the future (dwarf angel, blue tang (small), yellow tang (small) and a fuzzy dwarf lionfish. They then told me that I should add the blue tang, yellow tang and the dwarf angel all at the same time so they could establish their pecking order and living spaces all at the same time so they would be less aggressive to one another. After adding them everything was going great for the next few weeks so I went and added the fuzzy dwarf lionfish as well as a small chocolate chip starfish. Again everything went well for a while. On the 24th I woke up to see my yellow tang dead, he showed no red on his spines or any strange swimming patterns that would worry me. That night when I got home my dwarf angel was dead and my chocolate chips starfish was on top his body eating him. That same night my blue tang started swimming really crazy like it had a neurological disorder (circles, up and down and into walls) once it stopped I took him out of the tank. I am feeding "Rod's Food" frozen fish food bought from my LFS as well as "marine cousine" and Mises shrimp frozen cubes from PetSmart. I was thawing them all in their own small air tight pill bottles and keeping them in the fridge for about 3 days. The only thing that changed before the fish died was I started mixing all of the food and thawing it out in a single large pill bottle. The way I see it if it had anything to do with the food or not rinsing the pill bottle out well enough then the trigger would have been the first to go seeing as he eats a majority of the food but what do I know...please help with any insight as to what you think may have happened and how I should move on with the tank....P.S. the last damsel I had left from cycling the tank (that the fuzzy dwarf didn't eat) also died on X-mas morning...I also forgot to mention that I test the water with an API drop test kit about once a week and all chemicals tested within normal ranges, a test was done the night before I found all of these fish dead.
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Old 12-27-2012, 12:35 AM   #2
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Not sure if serious, but none of those fish fit in that size tank. you must research and don't always trust the lfs.
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Old 12-27-2012, 02:29 AM   #3
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I'm new but stress can be cause size of tank, or overfeeding. Good luck someone will chime in with mor experience with hobby cause I'm new and planning slow.
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Old 12-27-2012, 02:39 AM   #4
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I don't see your water test levels anywhere in your post. You need to test your water as a first step. Second step is to return all the surviving fish and get fish that can actually survive in your tank not one of the fish you bought or listed can survive in a 35. Not a single one. No one can help you keep any of them in a 35. There are lots and lots of other beautiful fish that you can keep but only if you are properly testing your water for salinity, temperature, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. Without knowing these levels all the fish you buy will likely die. The API saltwater master test kit is about $20 which is less that nearly any fish you find. It's a really good investment. A hydrometer or refractometer is also a must have. No one can keep saltwater fish without one.
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Old 12-27-2012, 02:40 AM   #5
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Could it be residual effects from the pills that were in the pill bottle (plastic is porous)? Are you topping off with either ro/di or distilled water? How did you initially cycle the tank and what products are you using? Sorry for all the questions it'll just help figure things out...
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:51 AM   #6
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I have the API salt master kit and the night before all of this happened my levels were as follows, Ph-8.2-8.4, ammonia <.25, nitrite-0, nitrate 30-40ppm. I also have an instant ocean hydrometer and if I remember correctly my salinity was at a 1.25.(I know it was in a good place). When I was talking to the LFS about these fish the said they wouldn't be a problem until they got bigger at which time I plan on having a larger tank I can transfer them to. I'm saving a little more money after Christmas and I should be able to afford the 90 gallon tank,sump,protein skimmer and matrix bio filtration. I was hoping to be able to transfer them once the new tank was cycled but I guess that won't be happening. My LFS will only give me 1/3 of what the tiny trigger is worth in a store credit but he seems to be doing okay with just him, the fuzzy dwarf and the starfish. Do you think he will make it to transfer into the larger tank? Or should I take the loss and return him? I'm also looking for some stocking suggestions for the 90 gallon if I can't trust what my LFS is telling me. The only thing I know I would really like to have is a full size lionfish.
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:51 AM   #7
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How long has your tank been running? Sounds to me like your cycle may not be fully complete judging from your posted parameters, or your tank was just too overstocked for your bioload hence the .25 ammonia. Me personally I would take the trigger back, cut your loses and let your tank stableize before adding more livestock. I've got a 28 g nano and I have 2-clowns, 1-royal gamma, 1 YWG and pistol combo. There is lots of nano fish out there that will fit in your tank without the heartache. Just ask here on the forum before you go out and buy everyone here is really good at helping.
Going forward I would do a water change once you get the trigger back to the store, bring down your ammonia levels. Don't listen to the lfs if they are selling you a trigger fish to fit into a 30 or so gallon tank with the hopes of getting a larger tank IMO they shouldn't be giving advice. Best of luck and questions just ask.
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Old 12-27-2012, 12:18 PM   #8
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JumperAlex

I had the same problem when I first started. I wanted to put fish into my 29 gallon that couldn't live in the tank. I did a lot of research and found the fish I want to put into my tank that can live their whole lives in a 29 gallon.

Take it from experience. You may want to upgrade and fully plan on it, but until you have the bigger tank, I wouldn't buy fish that will grow out of your tank. All of them fish listed don't do well together and will cause each fish to be stressed beyond belief. Trigger fish alone are really mean towards others and require a 125 gallon minimal. A blue Hippo Tang requires a 125 gallon minimal, even when small as they need the space to swim. They are open swimmers and without the space they stress and die.

I would follow the advice given here and take your fish back for credit and research fish that are good for the size tank you have. You can get a lot of cool awesome looking fish for a tank that size. You don't have to compromise on color or anything!! A Dwarf Flame Angel is cool looking, a Six Line Wrasse, and a HawkFish, just to name a few.

Again, starting an Aquarium is fun, but also frustrating because of all of the fish you want, but can't buy because of tank size. :-p I have ran into this, but a good rule to follow is if the Fish can't survive it's whole life in the tank I have now, don't buy it with hopes of upgrading.

Trust me, when you upgrade all the fish you want will still be there being sold. :-p Good luck my friend!!
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Old 12-27-2012, 12:44 PM   #9
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I'm guessing that the ammonia was due to adding three fish at one time. I normally add one, maybe two, fish at a time and wait weeks before adding more. The BB needs time to adjust to the new bio load. Ammonia is bad, so is that level of nitrate. I worry when mine gets to 10.

As was already stated, most of those fish were not meant to be in a tank that small. That can cause stress, which leads to problems. Places like liveaquaria.com and blue zoo.com have recommended tank sizes. I'm a big fan of trusting their suggestions over a LFS that is out to make a buck and looses nothing if the fish they sell me dies.
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:54 PM   #10
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Everybody here is making some important points. Some basic rules for stocking are: always stock based on the "adult" size of the fish, never add more fish than the tank and filter are already prepared to handle at the time, and always feed very lightly after adding new fish for at least the first week. That allows the bacteria time to catch up to the higher bioload.

I'd exchange the fish for some store credit. That will give you time to do a couple of water changes and decide on some nice fish that'll be able to live happily in the tank you have now. Once you have your 90 gallon you can get the ones that grow larger, though a 90 is still way to small for a blue tang and trigger just like baron said.
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